SOUTHERN Water has said it is not responsible for the deaths of more than 900 fish after the release of wastewater into a river.

The fish were found dead after “serious pollution” was released in the river from Fairplace Pumping Station in Burgess Hill.

Southern Water released a statement claiming pollution further upstream was responsible and this is now being investigated by the Environment Agency.

A spokesman for the company said yesterday: “Our staff discovered the dead fish while inspecting the river following an emergency release of wastewater further downstream.

“However, we don’t believe this release killed the fish – we believe they had been dead for some time.

“Other pollution sources are believed to have contributed and are being investigated by the agency.

“Samples taken upstream of our release point are currently being tested.

“The ammonia levels in them, which would be toxic to fish, appeared to be very high, which is why the agency is investigating other pollution sources upstream of our release point.”

Fish species including eel, brown trout and roach were found dead across a 1.2-mile stretch of River Adur East in north Burgess Hill.

Southern Water previously blamed its waste water for the “regrettable” incident and said that its response had been prompt.